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These are the top 10 patient safety challenges in 2019

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A new report released by ECRI Institute highlights the 10 biggest patient safety concerns in 2019.

To create the list, ECRI utilized data regarding events and concerns as well as the insight of experts like analysts, infection preventionists and clinicians at ECRI Institute. These individuals pinpoint the concerns based on member inquiries, root cause analyses and adverse events submitted to ECRI’s Patient Safety Organization.

Here are the challenges on this year’s list:

  • Diagnostic stewardship and test result management using EHRs. Information needs to be properly communicated to the right folks on the clinical side. Otherwise, there is a potential for serious patient harm or death. Though providers rely on the EHR for flagging issues and tracking results, ECRI notes that technology is only part of the solution.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship in physician practices and aging services. Physicians should ensure they’re appropriately prescribing (and not overprescribing) antibiotics to patients. They should also properly educate their patients about the antibiotic.
  • Burnout and its impact on patient safety. Doctors, nurses, allied healthcare providers and organizational leaders can all experience burnout. This can negatively affect patients’ safety and the quality of care they receive.
  • Patient safety concerns relating to mobile health. While mobile health tech can be useful, there are risks involved, including lack of regulation of new tools and the possibility that a patient isn’t using the tech correctly or at all.
  • Reducing discomfort with behavioral health. Physical health and behavioral health are still siloed in many healthcare settings. To help providers better assist patients with behavioral health needs, organizations can implement training programs.
  • Detecting changes in a patient’s condition. Not spotting changes in a patient’s condition is a challenge within hospitals and during transitions of care. Training can also come in handy here, and staff can learn how to recognize changes and how to respond to alarms alerting them to check on individuals.
  • Developing and maintaining skills. Patients can get hurt if staff members are uncomfortable or unsure of how to use equipment or perform a procedure. Simulation (followed by a debriefing) is one method of allowing clinicians to practice valuable skills.
  • Early recognition of sepsis. Sepsis can be fatal, so providers have to know how to recognize signs and screen for it.
  • Infections from peripherally inserted IV lines. Peripheral intravenous catheters can expose patients to a risk of infection. Increased awareness and routine surveillance by staff can help lower the risk of such infections.
  • Standardizing safety efforts across big health systems. As healthcare organizations grow, they must work to guarantee patient safety doesn’t get brushed aside. To help meet this goal, health systems can prioritize communication and strategic planning.

Photo: XiXinXing, Getty Images

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